Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas

This stunning Mediterranean salad is tangy and fresh, featuring fresh cilantro and parsley, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, currants, and lemon.

Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas

Here’s a salad that is everything fresh! This Mediterranean salad with chickpeas is the perfect study of counterpoints: chewy bulgur wheat, savory chickpeas, fresh aromatic cilantro, spicy red onion, sweet currants, and tangy lemon. It’s one of those “wow” factor recipes, from the first bite! Alex and I love hearty soups, stews, and casseroles as much as anything, but sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit! It was inspired by the highlight of London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit. Keep reading for how to make it!

Bulgur wheat | Mediterranean salad with chickpeas

Making this Mediterranean salad

This salad was inspired by London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi and his hit cookbook, Plenty. His fresh, Mediterranean recipes make vegetable-heavy cooking look positively glamorous. And after tasting some of his flavors, we realized they don’t just look pretty: they taste amazing.

This Mediterranean salad is an adaptation of a bulgur salad that is served alongside grilled eggplant in the book. We love idea of the play between sweet currants, tangy lemon, salty pistachios, and the bite of the fresh herbs. We changed it up quite a bit to use a lot more bulgur wheat, and added chickpeas to make for a more filling vegetarian dish. To serve, we paired it with our “famous” spiced roasted cauliflower. It’s a stunning side dish and would be perfect alongside grilled fish or meat as well.

How to cook bulgur wheat

So, what is bulgur wheat? Bulgur wheat is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially pre-cooked. Not only does it have a delicious chewy texture, nutty flavor, and a high nutritional content, but it cooks quickly. For this recipe, make sure to find fine-grind or medium-grind bulgur wheat, since these types cook the fastest.

How to cook bulgur wheat? Here’s all you have to do. Boil some water in a teapot. Once boiling, pour it over the bulgur wheat and let it soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, fluff the bulgur with a fork. That’s it! It’s basically a “no cook” recipe because you’re not really cooking on the stovetop in the traditional sense.

Mediterranean salad with chickpeas

The pair of the salad and cauliflower was perfect – an array of tastes and textures that left us craving more! This meal made a wonderful compliment to an evening with some of our dearest friends – it would also make for a great lunch option to bring to work (the leftovers save well). Let us know if you give it a try and what you think in the comments below!

Get it: For more, check out Yottam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty.

Looking for more recipes with bulgur wheat?

If you buy bulgur wheat for this recipe and are looking to use it up, here are a few recipes with bulgur:

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this Mediterranean salad recipe, here are a few favorite salad recipes:

This Mediterranean salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free.

Print

Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This stunning Mediterranean salad is tangy and fresh, featuring fresh cilantro and parsley, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, currants, and lemon.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fine- or medium-grind bulgur wheat*
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon zest (1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil 2 cups of water. In a medium bowl or sealable container, place the bulgur wheat and 2 cups boiling water. Cover and allow to sit until tender: about 7 minutes for fine-grind and 15 minutes for medium-grind bulgur.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the red onion. Chop the cilantro and parsley. Crush the pistachios (you can place them in a handkerchief or plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin or other heavy item). Juice and zest the lemon. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if canned).
  3. When the bulgur is ready, in a large bowl, combine bulgur, red onion, parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, currants, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Taste, and adjust flavors as necessary.
  4. To serve, garnish with pistachios, or stir them in to the salad. (If desired, you could serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.)

Notes

*Avoid coarse or extra-coarse bulgur, since the cooking instructions are different.

Adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Mediterranean Salad, Chickpea Salad, Bulgur Salad, Salad Recipes, Vegan Salad Recipes, Mediterranean Recipes, Mediterranean Diet

 

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

19 Comments

  • Reply
    Valeria
    January 9, 2012 at 4:47 am

    What I love the most about your recipes is seasonality. You truly give me faith about it as I plan to move to the US soon. Being Italian, it’s out of question to eat seasonal food, but I am so scared of losing it moving to the other side of the ocean…thanks for inspiring me and making me change my mind! I love every single recipe you two make! My husband and I eat in a very similar way and I am glad to find these similarities, I don’t feel an alien at least…:)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      Oh, how nice! Thank you for the nice compliments. So glad that we could help change your mind about American eating! Where are you moving to? Best of luck with the transition! (We’d gladly trade you and move to Italy :) )

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living
    January 9, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I’ve been seeking out grain salad recipes, so this one came around at just the right time! I have actually never cooked bulgur before, but I’m all about trying new whole grains. Looks healthy and delicious – my kind of salad!

  • Reply
    jackie @ marin mama cooks
    January 9, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Hi guys! I just discovered your blog over the weekend and I am loving everything I see. Your photographs are simply beautiful.

    This salad looks amazing and so healthy, right up my alley. I love eating meals like this for lunch when the kids are in school. I am also a huge fan of roasted cauliflower and tend to throw that in anything. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much! We’re huge cauliflower fans here too :) Let us know if you try it out!

  • Reply
    DeskSnacker
    January 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    This looks perfect for this time of year. The currants really elevate the flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Deny
    January 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I just love your recipes. they always come at the time I am thinking about the ingredients! I agree with Valeria & the seasonality of your recipes. HURRAH!

  • Reply
    Sylvie (A Pot of Tea)
    January 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I just bought some bulghur to make Imjadara with Roasted Cauliflower today, so will have to try this with what will be left over. You can never go wrong with an Ottolenghi recipe! Delicious.

  • Reply
    janet @ the taste space
    January 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Looks great! It has been such a long time since I’ve had bulgur – I should change that. :)

  • Reply
    elly
    January 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Love the dollop of Greek yogurt on the side – a perfect accompaniment. I’m not a huge chickpea fan, though I keep trying and trying. I do LOVE bulgur, though – actually just posted bulgur on my blog today. :) This looks really delicious.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    January 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Hey guys, I was just remarking on the weird fact that we both put out roasted cauliflower salads with grain and chickpeas. Weird…and they are side by side on Tasteologie. Great minds do think alike!

    Oh and I love your new (to me!) picture as well…;)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      February 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Ha – how funny is that! (Sorry on the late response here…) :) Thanks on the pic too! :)

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    What a perfect dish that is hearty, healthy, and vibrant! I’m excited to try it.

  • Reply
    Clayton Owen
    January 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    This is an outstanding recipe. I only made one change (because I screwed up). I added 1/2 a shallot and a red onion. I also cut up a Hass Artichoke cause I thought it would taste good, it did! My wife loved it and she hates everything I make:-)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      February 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Haha — those changes sound delicious! Glad to provide the inspiration! :)

  • Reply
    Ania
    February 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Just wanted to say that I’ve made 3 of your recipes so far and loved every single one! Made this with quinoa instead because it was what I had on hand and it was so delicious and fresh and the flavor was just perfectly balanced. Your recipes are just lovely!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      February 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Oh thank you! That is so nice of you to say. Quinoa would be perfect as well – we’ll have to try that too!

  • Reply
    Liz
    February 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I made this for my take-to-work lunch this week. Everything works together so well: the crunch of the pistachios, the coolness of the cilantro, the pop of the onion, the sweetness of the raisins. Delicious.

    I almost got lazy with the cauliflower because I actually love it raw and I was tired, but I motivated myself to roast it and, though I had to take it out earlier than your recipe said so it didn’t char, it is now one of my favorite ways to make it!

    All of this with the Greek yogurt was perfection.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      February 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks for such a thoughtful comment! We love to hear when people try out the recipes (especially when they enjoy them too)! :)

      The roasting time does depend on the oven for the cauliflower — lucky for you, you get to eat yours sooner :)

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.